A sweet challenge – optimally mastered

Producing chocolate that satisfies the highest standards over many decades requires robust and high-quality equipment which also meets EHEDG stipulations. The Vitalobe type series from KSB features pumps that are well-equipped to take on any challenge. They fulfil the hygienic requirements, handle the product gently, are robust and so flexible that they can be optimally adjusted to the process conditions – qualities that play an important role for a company with a rich history like Nestlé Cailler.

The project: Robust and reliable hygienic pumps for handling cocoa mass

Having produced chocolate for over 200 years, the company has a wealth of experience in the best way to process raw materials and ingredients. Maison Cailler creates exquisite chocolates made with fresh milk from the region, sustainably sourced cocoa and selected ingredients. Every day, around 300,000 of these sweet temptations are shipped from the factory in Broc. Cailler is one of the few chocolate manufacturers in the world that adds lightly condensed milk instead of milk powder to the cocoa mass. This method gives Cailler chocolate products their unmistakable flavour and unique texture.

However, the presence of outdated equipment with a poor level of reliability in the production process meant that it was time to change pumps.

The customer: The Nestlé Cailler chocolate factory 

Cailler is the oldest active Swiss chocolate brand. Now part of Nestlé, its headquarters are located in Broc, Switzerland. The family-run company in West Switzerland is responsible for the entire production process, from the cocoa bean through to the packaged chocolate creations. The chocolate factory also houses a museum, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

Maison Cailler in Broc attracts thousands of visitors every year

Maison Cailler in Broc attracts thousands of visitors every year

The challenge: Transport of highly viscous, solids-laden foodstuff requiring gentle handling

In terms of production, processing the cocoa mass is anything but simple. In particular the transfer of the cocoa with sweetened condensed milk repeatedly posed new challenges for the chocolate maker. Although the cocoa mass is highly viscous and contains abrasive cocoa particles, it nevertheless needs to be handled gently.

The solution: The Vitalobe rotary lobe pump which is flexible and extremely easy to clean

Having established a good relationship with KSB Switzerland, the company decided to opt for a Vitalobe rotary lobe pump. And following three years of cooperation, the customer has been very satisfied – especially with regard to KSB’s fast response times. An Etanorm pump and a number of valves, including the BOAX® butterfly valve, were already in operation at the Broc factory to the full satisfaction of the customer.

The Vitalobe range comprises rotary lobe pumps for transporting high-viscosity, solids-laden fluids and fluids that require gentle handling – precisely the conditions at the chocolate factory.

The positive displacement pump from KSB can pump fluids with a viscosity of up to 200,000 mPas and also offers reverse mode operation. It can also be configured to suit different requirements by using interchangeable rotary lobes. The rotary lobes are made of stainless steel 1.4404 (AISI 316L) as standard. Alternatively, depending on the size and type of the rotor, other materials are available including a so-called anti-seizure alloy (CY5SnBiM) or a plastic-coated metal variant.

The Vitalobe rotary lobe pump at work

The Vitalobe rotary lobe pump at work

Users hold this flexibility in particularly high regard as the pump can be configured to the process conditions with a high level of precision. As hygiene is critical in the process of producing chocolate, initial validation was required by Cailler – but this posed no problems for KSB thanks to its EHEDG-certified products.

The team first of all opted for a test run with the Vitalobe pump in which the challenges of the viscous chocolate mass were clearly illustrated. Thanks to the flexibility and positive spirit of collaboration, a perfect solution was quickly found by using a rotor in the form of a gear wheel. As well as achieving reliable operation, a further positive result was a decrease in production line stops which reduced the need for manual pump cleaning. And thanks to quick and easy dismantling, this cleaning process does not hold up production at the factory for long. The pump can also be cleaned and sterilised using CIP and SIP processes without leaving any residues.

After the test phase, the pump was put into permanent operation in February 2018. Not only does KSB’s Vitalobe ensure perfectly sterile processes, it is also flexible, robust and reliable and can be cleaned very easily without leaving any residues. As the customer was very impressed by these properties in its daily operations, the chocolate experts have decided to integrate four additional Vitalobe pumps into processes at the Nestlé factory in Broc over the next two years. With Vitalobe now helping to ensure improved reliability and smooth running of processes in the production of the company’s mouth-watering delights, this has been a sweet challenge to master!

KSB’s Vitalobe reliably pumps cocoa mass to produce the finest chocolate

KSB’s Vitalobe reliably pumps cocoa mass to produce the finest chocolate

Figures I Data I Facts

  • Location: Broc, Schwitzerland
  • Company: Nestlé Cailler chocolate factory
    Has been producing gourmet chocolate for over 200 years. Every day, around 300,000 of these sweet temptations are shipped from the factory.

    Established: 1819
  • Plant: Chocolate production
  • End user: Nestlé Cailler chocolate factory


  • Pump types 
    1 x Vitalobe VLBB 105/0074    
    Flow rate: 0.5 m3/h, head: 13 m

    1 x Vitalobe VLBB 105/0074
    Flow rate: 0.5 m3/h, head: 22 m